28 November 2014

India: Indian Air Force and Russian Federation Air Force Joint Exercise “Avia Indra I” at AF Stn Halwara Concluded


Avia Indra I, Phase II, a joint Indo – Russia Air Force exercise held at Air Force Station Halwara (Punjab) from 17 November successfully concluded today. The Phase I of the ‘AviaIndra I’ was held at Astrakhan near Caspian Sea in Russia in August 2014. 

Media from Punjab also had an opportunity to witness the exercise at SK (SidhwanKhas) Range. Such exercises, specially with Russia are of significance as the IAF has a large inventory of Russian equipment. For the diverse defence needs of the two Air Forces there is much to benefit from such engagements for both sides. The Russian team was touched by the warmth of their host and amongst other things, encashed on the opportunity to learn a few steps of ‘Bhangra’ dance. 

The joint Air Force exercise between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Russian Federation Air Force (RFAF) takes the historic and strategic military partnership between India and Russia to a new level. During the exercise, fighter, helicopter and missile crew of the two countries operated together. It included Air to Ground firing and fighter sorties over the mighty Himalayas. Select members of the team were taken to Bengaluru, where they were introduced to indigenous programs, including the LCA Tejas and Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv). 

To commemorate the event, the two commanders Air Commodore PK Vohra VM and Major General Alexander N Lyapkin unveiled a hand carved stone and planted saplings next to the memorial stone to symbolize growth of this unique partnership etched in the stone for posterity. 

News Story: Japan considers creation of a state-backed agency for weapons exports


According to Reuters, Japan is considering creating a government-backed financing arm for weapons exports, a move that would accelerate Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's shift away from the country's pacifist past and strengthen Tokyo's regional security ties as China's military power grows.

As a first step, the government plans to convene an advisory panel to consider specific proposals to create a way to finance military sales by Japanese firms and fund defense industry cooperation abroad, four people involved told Reuters.

One possibility to be considered is for a government-backed body to provide concessional financing for military projects modeled on the self-financing Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the people involved.

They asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of talks on a move that would likely upset China, where memories of Japan's wartime past run deep and which has already criticized Abe's decision in April to end a decades-old ban on arms exports.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Story: China and Russia (may have) sign(ed) agreement on S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems delivery

S-400 Triumf (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Russia is in the process of selling cutting-edge S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to China, which would hand Beijing a defense system capable of deterring even the most advanced air powers from infringing on Chinese airspace, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. The two countries are reported to have recently signed an agreement for at least 6 divisions of the S-400 system.

China this fall signed an agreement with Russia's arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, that calls for the delivery of at least six divisions of the S-400 system costing over $3 billion, the paper said citing unidentified Defense Ministry and industry officials.

The report comes a week after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on a visit to Beijing agreed to deepen military-industrial ties and hold more joint naval exercises with China.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

Editorial: One Year of ADIZ - What Next for China?


By Ankit Panda

China’s East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) remains ambiguous.

It’s now been a year since China unilaterally declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over a large swathe of the East China Sea. Beijing’s decision to do so came at a time of rising tensions between China and Japan over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. While that dispute persists today, tensions were significantly higher a year ago, with the potential for escalation high on both sides. At the time, The Diplomat hosted a wide range of perspectives on why Beijing chose to act as it did and the ramifications the ADIZ decision would carry going forward for the security of the Asia-Pacific region, China-Japan relations, and more. A year later, most of the questions raised then still endure. For example, will Beijing follow up on the mixed signals it’s been sending about a potential ADIZ over the South China Sea? Could Beijing’s enforcement of its ADIZ draw international legal action? Finally, will Beijing’s justification of the ADIZ evolve with time? I’ll mostly focus on the first question here.
We’ve seen mixed signals come out of China regarding the possibility of a South China ADIZ. For example, while a senior PLA official called for China to establish an ADIZ over the South China Sea, noting that it was “necessary for China’s long-term national interest,” these calls had been contradicted by official Chinese foreign ministry statements noting that there were no plans to install an ADIZ over the South China Sea. The geography of the South China Sea and China’s capacious territorial claim to almost the entirety of the region, down to the Borneo coastline, make the decision to declare an ADIZ there more complicated. Specifically, as I’ve discussed here before, the nature of China’s dashed line claim leaves some interesting and strategically advantageous ambiguities that would be threatened with the declaration of a de jure ADIZ. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: India’s Urgent Need for Defense Modernization


By Amit R. Saksena

Years of mismanagement have been disastrous for India’s defense.

For the Indian armed forces, military modernization was perhaps the biggest casualty under the previous UPA-led government. From numerous procurement scandals to the inability of the government to foster indigenization of research and development, the nation’s defense preparedness is at a nadir. The Air Force’s primary fleet is a shambles, the Navy has yet to put the INS Arihant into operation, and the Army has no definite timeline for implementing the F-INSAS program. All this when India consistently ranks as the world’s largest importer of arms.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have taken a tougher stance against external threats, but if he is to follow up on the rhetoric, he will need to make strengthening the armed forces a top priority for his government. And the first step to take is to modernize the forces.
The BJP’s election manifesto promised to strengthen the country’s defense industrial base. There was considerable excitement in the defense and security sector, which had the impression that to maintain a high level of operational readiness the new government would remedy procurement policies and fast track indigenization by privatizing industry. But to establish a solid military-industrial base and fast-track indigenization, the government needs to have a long-term plan, to guide development. That is precisely what it does not have. In the absence of a defense white paper or grand strategy, the defense focus has been very much short term.
As a recent IHS Jane report notes, India is set to become the fourth biggest military spender in the world by 2020, surpassed only by the U.S., Russia and China. It will be critical for New Delhi to have developed an overarching strategy by that time, to avoid excessive spending and give direction to future development. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

27 November 2014

AUS: Brisbane welcomes Singapore Navy to the Sunshine State


LCDR Mark Tandy (author), 
Mr Christian Ferguson (photographer)

<< Commander of the Royal Singapore Navy (RSN) Amphibious Squadron, Colonel Thng Chee Meng presents a Squadron plaque to the Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC at Government House in Brisbane. (L-R) CO RSS Persistence, Lieutenant Colonel Sylvan Sumanthiran, Commander of the Royal Singapore Navy Amphibious Squadron, Colonel Thng Chee Meng, Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC and Commanding Officer Naval Headquarters - South Queensland, Commander Peter Tedman.

Brisbane gave a warm welcome to RSS Persistence recently when the Singaporean Navy ship made a port call en route to a joint Australian and Singaporean Exercise being conducted off the coast of Queensland.

The Commanding Officer Naval Headquarters South Queensland, Commander Peter Tedman, said the city was a popular stop over for visiting ships.

"Brisbane provided the Singapore Navy with the ideal location to transfer personnel and equipment arriving from Singapore and a great place for some 'R&R'.

USA: US and Korean Submariners Deepen Understanding During 40th SWCM


By Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Kakiel, Submarine Group 7 Public Affairs

FLEET ACTIVITIES YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Group (COMSUBGRU) 7 conducted bilateral talks with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Nov. 24-26 at Chinhae, Republic of Korea (ROK).

The 40th Submarine Warfare Committee Meeting (SWCM) brought together representatives from the U.S. and ROK navies. 

SWCM is a semi-annual flag conference between COMSUBGRU 7 and commander, Submarine Flotilla (COMSUBFLOT) 9. Established in 1994 during the birth of the ROKN submarine fleet, the conference has evolved into a discussion between U.S. and ROKN submarine forces focused on submarine tactics, force integration and future submarine development.

Rear Adm. Stuart Munsch, COMSUBGRU 7 commander, led the U.S. delegation that also discussed planning combined exercises, training and continued development of integrated anti-submarine warfare plans. The underlying theme of the talks was expanding the alliance between the U.S. and ROK navies. 

Brunei: 15TH ASEAN CHIEFS OF ARMY MULTILATERAL MEETING (ACAMM)


HANOI, THE REPUBLIC OF SOCIALIST VIETNAM, Wednesday 26 November 2014 -  Brigadier General Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Yussof bin Haji Abd Rahman, the Commander of the Royal Brunei Land Forces led a delegation from the RBLF to Hanoi to attend the ASEAN Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting (ACAMM) which takes place at Melia Hotel from the 25-27 November 2014.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Enhance the interoperability of ASEAN Armies in response to non-traditional challenges”. This theme supports the ASEAN vision which is 'ASEAN community 2015' as well as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM).

Every Chief of Army (COA) presented their perspective in a collaborative effort to support the unity amongst the Armies for the years to come. A few recommendations were made such as training and cooperation to be enhanced at all levels in a multilateral concept; every effort will be made for the cooperation of stability and peace of the region; and multilateral activities will be increased as part of an initiative for interoperability between ASEAN Armies. An immediate action as a way forward is to establish a working group to study the various recommendations made and the needs to implement them in more practical ways. The session was officiated by Senior Lieutenant General Do Ba Ty, Chief of General Staff, Vietnam People’s Army.

Editorial: Dr. Strangelove’s Advice to U.S. and Russian Nuclear Planners


By Walter C. Clemens, Jr.

A recent report offers some disturbing advice for nuclear weapons policy.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are strained for many reasons. And advice from the ivory tower, no matter how well intentioned, can sometimes make things even worse. This year, a  working group of U.S. and Russian academics deliberated on how to make their two countries’ strategic forces more “compatible.” The lead authors, a American and a Russian professor – neither a specialist in security issues – looked for ways to assure stable deterrence despite a widening gap in each country’s economic and technological capabilities. Their report takes for granted that Russia has come to rely heavily on nuclear weapons rather than on modernized conventional forces to defend its borders (against whom is not clear, perhaps Estonia or Afghanistan?). As if taking its cues from a resurrected Dr. Strangelove, the report asserts:
Reliance on a first-strike nuclear capability, missile defenses, launch-on-warning systems, and other security policies considered destabilizing during the heightened tensions of the Cold War are much more stabilizing in the current context, and would be feasible ways to reduce nuclear arsenals while providing greater security and transparency.
It is strange to find seekers of strategic compatibility endorsing plans to launch on warning, if only because radar screens can mislead and have on occasion nearly provoked a nuclear first strike. The report could instead have backed calls to terminate such plans.
The folly of continuing a posture of launch on warning is underscored by a recent Pentagon report detailing the material and human shortfalls of America’s strategic missile forces. Crews have one wrench to affix warheads for 450 intercontinental missiles. Aging blast doors for sixty year-old silos do not seal shut. Submarine lack spare parts. Human weaknesses are probably more serious. Poor morale and boredom are also issues. Looking to bolster spirits, some reviewers recommended restoring “select crew” patches. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: A Blueprint for India-Australia Collaboration


By Mohamed Zeeshan

Beyond geopolitics, the two countries have the potential to work together in a number of areas.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently concluded a highly successful visit to Australia. Not only did he take part in the G20 Summit in Brisbane this week, but – in a typical Modi move – he added a state visit. It was in fact the first visit to Australia by an Indian prime minister in 28 years.
Given the great potential in the Indo-Australian bilateral relationship, the long gap between visits is hard to fathom. India and Australia today both have significant roles to play in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, even if as part of the U.S. “pivot.” Australia is also part of Modi’s “Act East” policy push and this visit follows close on the heels of his recent engagements with the likes of Japan and Myanmar. But his outreach to Australia is about much more than just geopolitics. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat